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Can Costa Rica make a turnaround for its expats?
By Garland Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Is Costa Rica moving forward or backward for expats? Is the country killing the golden goose? Is it too late to turn things around for foreigners? Are taxes and the red tape getting to be too much for expats to live here?

Even Ticos are tired. That is one reason the new president, Luis Guillermo Solís, received so many votes. The country was trying to send a message to the current powers to reflect their discontent. Does the new man have what it takes to turn things around or will he be inheriting such a mess he will be doomed to failure? One thing for sure, he will have to deal with Costa Rica’s out-of-control national debt and dwindling internationals interest in the country.

Ten years ago, the government started talking about taxing people more and more. Over that time, they have put new computers in place and hired additional personnel to do so. They have added a luxury tax, a tax on companies, and a land-travel exit tax to name a few.

On the new president’s agenda, there is a list of new tax proposals to raise more money for the country:

1.) Widening sales taxes to include services;

2.) Increasing sales taxes from 13 to 15 percent;

3.) Making a new scale to include more people who earn service fees;

4.) Capital gains taxes;

5.) Tax on world income; and the list goes on and on.

Last week the municipality of San José notified bar owners they would have to pay an additional assessment of 400,000 colons (about $740) per quarter to stay in business for bars over 60 square meters.  For those under 60 they will have to pay 200,000.

Surprises like these never cease. And, they probably will not, because the country keeps on spending more and more like money is going out of style.

Where is Costa Rica in its development life cycle common to tourist destinations? The phases to the cycle are exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation and, decline and/or rejuvenation. Where does this country lie in this model? Does the life cycle model even apply to Costa Rica anymore?

Panamá on the other hand is burning up the metrics. The country’s growth last year was an astonishing 7.0 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP in English and PIB in Spanish). Costa Rica’s was only 3.4 percent, near the bottom of the list for Central America and the Caribbean. Panamá also has reduced poverty 12.6 percent in the past six years.

What is the difference? Panamá is working at attracting investors and retired people while Costa Rica seems to be shooing them away.  Years ago, Costa Rica had great benefits, too, before the Hacienda ministry started taking them away one benefit at a time, until there were none left.  International Living ranked Panamá the best retirement destination in the world not once or even twice, but seven times in a row.

The World Bank is not forecasting a very rosy future for the country over the next few year either. Annual GDP growth is projected to stagnate or decline while debt will continues to rise. This may change if the new administration is strong enough to do so.

There seems to be a fundamental difference in philosophies between Panamá and Costa Rica. Panamá seems to building itself up as a corporate inviting country as well as one for tourists and retired people. Costa Rica on the other hand does not seem to doing much to keep the latter.
dead duck
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Here are some specifics

Here are some related news articles addressing problems expats and new arrivals now face:

Foreigners face barriers to open a bank account
http://www.amcostarica.com/041414.htm

Sala IV ducks chance to clear up key question on property theft
http://www.amcostarica.com/062713.htm#32

Opening or keeping bank account now a paper chase
http://www.amcostarica.com/033114.htm#31

Taxes inflate gasoline prices here by a third
http://www.amcostarica.com/032414.htm#31

Association of Residents gets new rates but may challenge them
http://www.amcostarica.com/022414.htm#32

Expat in property dispute loses defamation case
http://www.amcostarica.com/020614.htm#32

Owners of second homes may face a sales tax nightmare
http://www.amcostarica.com/122313.htm#31

New rule on driver's license bars many expats
http://www.amcostarica.com/110512.htm

What do expats want? Well, here are suggestions
http://www.amcostarica.com/042413.htm


Panamá invites retired residents who can show an income of $1,000 a month. Costa Rica requires much more and takes years in some cases to process the file.

Baby boomers retiring from the work force are
looking outside the United States for a welcome place to hang their hats. What message is Costa Rica sending to them? Over the past five years expats who once where very happy in this country have sold cheap and left. One woman who had a beautiful house in Nosara sold it for one-third its value. She said at the closing, “I came here to live and not to be hassled. Living in Costa Rica is not fun anymore. I am moving back to the United States because it seems easier than living here now.”

Costa Rica is a beautiful country, unique in the world. However, politicians must believe it is so unique retire people will live here regardless of what they do. Here is a wake up call. There are other very nice places in the world. They need to learn that squeezing every nickel out expats and Ticos alike is not a good economic policy.
   

Garland M. Baker is a 44-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at info@crexpertise.com.  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at http://crexpertise.info, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright2014, use without permission prohibited.


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 82

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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

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In memory of Jo Stuart

Many readers reacted Friday and over the weekend to the death of Jo Stuart. A.M. Costa Rica's Friday columnist. What follows is a commentary on her life because it shows that she touched so many.
___

I am deeply saddened today by the passing of my friend, Jo Stuart.   There will be a blank space in your publication as a result.  She was a fine, brave lady, and I will miss her keen insight and fearless walk through life.  I am privileged to participate in a group of writers to which Jo was a part.  Her empty chair will be hard to fill.
Hobbit Merritt
San Isidro de Alajuela

___

If I were to write an epitaph for Jo, it would be something she said to me a few years ago when her health was already failing.  I wasn’t doing so well myself, and Jo sensed I needed a little bucking up:  “If you don’t show up, nothing happens.”

I laughed.  It was another of those pithy one-liners that so often graced her columns.  But I took it seriously, too.  You have to get up, get dressed and go out and grasp life, even if you don’t feel like it, because life isn’t going to come to you.

But now, with her passing, it’s as if a light has gone out, and I realize just how much Jo’s “showing up” made life happen for those around her.  Her warmth, generosity, charm, ready wit and lively interest in the human condition would fill up any room she walked into, and we all felt the grace of her presence.

Towards the end, as ill as she was, she said she was grateful for every day she woke up.  That love of life is an inspiration . . . and surely the greatest part of her legacy.

Sandra Shaw
Tilarán
___

I am so sorry to read of the passing of Jo Stuart. Her musings and observations on Costa Rica, the world, and people in general reflected a lifetime of thoughtful, gentle confrontation with life as she found it, as well as compassion and humor for the human condition. I will miss reading her columns in your newspaper. I did not know her personally, although we corresponded by email a few times. I will miss this fellow sojourner and expatriate who loved Costa Rica even more than I do.

Rob Rowntree
Manuel Antonio
___

Her infectious smile and pointed writings will be missed. My hope is you continue to salute her perpetual efforts to make life better for others by an occasional re-printing of some of her articles. Pura vida and thank you, Ms Jo,

Skeeter Coleman
Grifo Alto de Puriscal
___

My condolences at the passing of Jo Stuart. Although I did not agree with her politically, you gave her the opportunity to express her opinions and offer another point of view. I'm sure her followers will miss her greatly.

Al Loria
New York, U.S.A.
___

Jo will be missed by many.   I was shocked reading the article this morning.  Things happen when you least expect them.   She added a very humanistic side to most of her articles.  Some may have disagreed, on her views, but I can say she was a warm-hearted individual.  There will be a void without her presence as she helped balance out a balanced newspaper that A.M. Costa Rica is.  I am sure she is in another place enjoying herself as she did during her stay here on earth.  My condolences to her son, daughter and family.  I met her son once and he reflected her very good nature.   She will be missed by many who enjoyed her writings.

Henry Kantrowitz
Punta Leona
  ___

It was with great sorrow that I learned today of the passing of your columnist, Jo Stuart.  Ever since I started coming to Costa Rica on an annual basis and becoming familiar with your newspaper, which I read daily, I have enjoyed her articles. She will be missed. Please accept, and also convey my condolences to  her family, and may she Rest In Peace.
 
Lonny Blackett
Brampton, Ontario,
Canada.
___

Jo will be missed.  I have read her musings for as long as I can remember.  I never did understand why The Tico Times dropped her.  She lived as we expats should.  She took in the fullness of Costa Rica and shared unique corners of life here with others.  I share her love for downtown San José.  Once you get out of your car and walk around a bit, it is truly a pleasant little city.  Hasta la vista, Jo!

Tom Ghormley
Jacó
___

My sympathies to you on the passing of Jo Stuart, who became a local institution. I have had the blessing to have gotten to know Jo somewhat, as we developed, in the beginning a pen-pal  relationship, that evolved into phone friends, with the intent of meeting in person for a luncheon. Alas this never happened, but I knew her as a vibrant, astute, and caring individual — a rare combination these days. So condolences on your loss. She will be missed. The butterfly has flown. Long live the butterfly!

Hari Singh Khalsa
Cóbano
___

Miss Jo and I had many world experiences in common, and she and I could not have been farther apart on the political spectrum.  When we communicated it was mostly about new recipes to try. She will be missed as assuredly she was loved.

Robert E. Rodgers
Playa Dominical
___

I was saddened to read of Jo Stuart’s passing this morning in amcostarica.com. But as I read through the article, I kept being reminded of the joy with which she embraced life, and it came to me that the last thing she would  have wanted is for us to feel sad. She’d remind us that she was just transitioning to another joyful part of living. She was a great lady. I’m blessed that I knew her.

Warren Kinsman
Barrio Escalante
___

I was so sorry to read that Jo Stuart had died.  Her Friday columns with witty, and sometimes political observances about life in San José and Costa Rica were always a highlight of my Friday reading list.  Please pass my condolences on to her family and colleagues.  While I'm unlikely to be able to attend a memorial service, I would be interested in know where donations might be made on her behalf. In sympathy,

John Fox
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
___

I was so saddened to read today that we've lost Jo Stuart . I've read her column for many years and looked forward to her interesting and heartfelt insights. So many times just one sentence would resonate with me for days . Rather than just relating the superficial aspects of experiences both ordinary and extraordinary Jo shared what she thought and felt about them and made them all meaningful and inspirational. I will truly miss her reflections upon life here and everywhere .

Pamela Ellsworth
Nosara
___

I am very saddened to learn of Jo Stuart’ passing. Jo’s sense of humor, keen observations and amazing love for people and for Costa Rica will be sorely missed. She was a beacon of light for the Friday edition. Hasta luego, Jo. And thank you!

Javier Zavaleta
Los Angeles, California
___

My deepest condolence. I  loved the way she describe her articles, and she was such a good   dame. We will miss her!

Mauricio Corleto
Houston, Texas
___

Each Friday I looked forward to setting aside a few minutes to read what Jo Stuart had to say that week. Whether or not I concurred with her point of view, we could have a friendly e-mail discussion. One topic we agreed upon was giving our remains to UCIMED for the medical students to use as a learning tool. We both are/were members of the bus corps and use(d) CAJA services.

Jo very kindly let me quote from some of her columns (crediting A.M. Costa Rica) in my book about retiring in Costa Rica, to be included in future editions, and where I also reference her book, “Butterfly in the City, A Good Life in Costa Rica.” Writers are among those people who want to help each other. I shall miss our “discussions,” the occasional encounter at a meeting or in someone’s home, and feel the emptiness within knowing I can no longer share with her thoughts about our wonderful experiences in Ticoland, sloughing off any unpleasant events as insignificant, as well as information about our individual lives during our adventures here. Remembering,

Helen Dunn Frame
Santa Ana
___

I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Jo Stuart. She was exceptionally observant, endlessly fascinated with the world around her and able to convey the wonder of her discoveries through her writing. Her compassion, wisdom and diplomacy shined through, despite her humility. The world needs more people like her.
Heidi Allen
San Antonio, Texas

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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 82
Sports
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U.S.
Tax and
 
President-elect expected to name the rest of his team today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President-elect Luis Guillermo Solís is expected to name the remainder of his cabinet and key appointees today. He has scheduled a 4 p.m. announcement.

There are some key slots still vacant, including foreign minster. Another vacancy is the head of the troubled Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. In all, there are 10 vacancies.

Solís said Sunday that he still was awaiting for some candidates to agree to serve.

The president-elect appears to be retaining the same number of ministries as President Laura Chinchilla has maintained. The Casa Presidencial Web site lists 22 ministers, including Turismo, which actually is an institute. Solís already has appointed a minister of sports, which was a new post under Ms. Chinchilla. Previously those duties were included in the culture ministry.

Each ministry, of course, has its own assortment of subordinates, vice ministers, offices and vehicle fleet. Solís did assign ministries to his vice presidents, thereby reducing the number of appointments.

Ms. Chinchilla split Gobernación and Policía from Seguridad
Pública, although they are headed by the same person. That was in
keeping with her efforts to deliver on her promise of more security for the country.

Solís received his credentials as president-elect Friday.

Election tribunal president Luis Antonio Sobrado handed Solís his official credentials in front of a small audience filled with family members and special guests. Final election numbers showed that Solís won the second round runoff with nearly 78 percent of the vote.

Upon receiving the official document, Solís thanked his supporters and said that they must stay true on this path for change as his four-year presidency is a momentary flash against Costa Rica's history.

“Let us not forget where we come from,” he said. “Let us not forget where we are headed and where we represent.”

Sobrado and the tribunal also gave credentials to Solís' two vice presidents, Helio Fallas and Ana Helena Chacón. Fallas will head the critical financial ministry, the Ministerio de Hacienda. Although not exactly a ministry, Ms. Chacón was named coordinator of the social sector.

Solís' May 8 inauguration will be held at Estadio Nacional at 10 a.m., where he will take over the presidency from Ms. Chinchilla.


Seven persons murdered between Thursday and Sunday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There were  seven murders between Thursday night and Sunday, the Judicial Investigating Organization said.

A friend found a 24-year-old woman stabbed to death in her apartment in  la Aurora de Heredia about 9 p.m. Thursday. The woman was identified by the last name of  Velásquez.

Someone shot and killed a pirate taxi driver and put his body into the trunk of his vehicle, Judicial agents said. A passer-by called police about 2:15 p.m. Friday because he said the car was parked badly on a La Sabana street. Police found the body.

The dead man, identified by the last name of Chavarría, usually worked in the Pavas area, agents said.

In Coronado about 5:55 a.m. Friday a 43-year-old man with the last name of Blanco died when he suffered two bullet wounds delivered by a gunman in a passing car.

Also Friday a man died in the  Clínica de Coronado after he
sustained three wounds during an argument in the  Mozotal sector. He was 34 and identified by the last name of Chacón.

Friday night judicial agents were called to a scrap metal operation in San José where the owner, identified by the last name of Cano, died after being confronted by two bandits as he tried to close up for the night about 11:15 p.m. He was 38.

Saturday night a man died in  Río Danta near Guåpiles when he was shot five times in a rural area. He was identified by the last name of  Jiménez, He was 29.

In Upala about 4:30 a.m. Sunday neighbors found the body of a man in the roadway in  El Progreso de Birmania. The 45-year-old man with the last name of  Ruiz suffered multiple stab wounds, said judicial agents.

No one was killed, but six persons suffered bullet wounds when a gunman in a passing car sprayed a group standing in the public roadway Friday night in the  Finca San Juan area of Pavas. The victims ranged in age from 17 to 32. A 20-year-old woman with the last name of  Parra sustained two bullet wounds in the bank and one in the head, agents said.


Five police officers among 15 held in human trafficking case
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fifteen persons have been arrested on allegations of transporting or housing illegal Nicaraguans. The suspects include five Fuerza Pública officers who may have facilitated their illegal passage. Authorities made the arrests after a series of raids in the Liberia area Saturday morning.

They found more than 40 illegal Nicaraguan migrants living in a house that was under surveillance. Investigation they said had been on the case for more than 10 years. The police officers who were arrested are three from Bagaces and two from Liberia, according to a representative from the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The Nicaraguans are presumed to have been en route from their home country to San José to find work. The representative added that the length of the decade-long investigation was due to a revolving door of suspects that made solid evidence hard to come by.

Last October the dormant probe received a revitalizing spark thanks to confidential information that allowed investigating agents to focus their watch on two particular groups suspected of trafficking this
illegal flow of immigration, the judicial agency said..

Agents said that the two groups are interconnected as one party is responsible for getting Nicaraguans across the Costa Rican border without proper documentation or valid identification. Then the next group takes the migrants and hides them throughout northern Costa Rica, where they wait for transportation to San José. Investigators said they believe the incoming migrants who are normally of a low-education background pay around $150 per person to be smuggled into the country.

During the investigation it was found that the groups had an intricate system in place to avoid police detection. One of their six cars would act as a scout to see if any police checkpoints were set up along the planned route. If they were, the suspects would hide out among the farms and villages between La Cruz and Liberia, investigators said.

They said the majority of time suspects were transported in modified cars with tinted-windows and lifted rear suspensions that allow for upwards of 12 people to fit in a five-person car.

Investigators said they have collected cell phones for potential evidence for this continuing case.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 82
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Double sainthood attracts a million faithful to St. Peter's Square
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Costa Rican Catholics were thrilled Sunday when Pope Francis, leader of the church, proclaimed two of his predecessors, John XXIII and John Paul II, as saints at a ceremony in St. Peter's Square. 

Officials say as many as one million people crowded St. Peter's and the nearby streets of Rome for the elevation-to-sainthood ceremony. 

Many came from Costa Rica. and local television stations were filled with interviews of the Tico faithful. Many slept on the streets waiting the ceremony.

A celebrity at the ceremony was  Floribeth Mora of Cartago. She attributed the disappearance of a brain aneurysm to Pope John Paul. That was one of the two miracles necessary for his sainthood. She met Pope Francis briefly.

Francis read the formal proclamation at the canonization Mass also attended by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

It is the first time two former popes have been elevated to sainthood at the same time. 

Relics of the two new saints were brought to the altar during the ceremony -- John Paul's blood used in his 2011 beatification, and a small piece of John's skin taken after his body was exhumed for his 2000 beatification. Relics are used to help the faithful venerate.   

Churches throughout Rome were open Saturday night, filled with pilgrims from around the world who came to witness the canonization of the two 20th century popes. 

The newly canonized popes are widely seen as representing contrasting factions of the Roman Catholic Church.

John, an Italian also known as the Good Pope because of his friendly and open personality, died before the Second Vatican Council ended its work in 1965, but his initiative set off one of the greatest upheavals in church teaching in modern times.


pope
Voice of America photo
Pope Francis read the formal proclamation at the Mass.

The council ended the use of Latin at Mass, brought in the use of modern music, and opened the way for challenges to Vatican authority, which alienated some traditionalists.

John Paul continued some of the reforms but tightened central control, condemned theological renegades and preached a stricter line on social issues.

Groups representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests say he did not do enough to root out a scandal that emerged towards the end of his pontificate and which has hung over the church ever since.

Both canonizations have involved some intervention with the normally strict rules governing the declaration of a saint. Francis ruled that only one miracle was needed to declare John a saint, while Benedict waived a rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin in order to speed up John Paul's canonization.


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See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

Real estate for rent (paid category)

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Cafetales



Obama faces hard question
on human rights in Malaysia


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama is winding down a visit to Malaysia where he faced tough questions Sunday on political freedoms in the country.  Next, the president heads to the Philippines, where U.S. officials confirm they will sign an agreement to rotate U.S. troops into Philippine military bases.  

After a lavish welcome Saturday, President Obama Sunday toured Malaysia's large National Mosque, which sits on more than five hectares and holds up to 15,000 people.

The mosque visit was a gesture of goodwill toward Malaysia's predominantly Muslim population. Obama sought to portray the country as a model of democracy and a model for coexistence between a Muslim majority and the sizable minorities of  Buddhists, Christians and Hindus.

Earlier, Obama held talks with Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak on the third leg of a four-nation tour of Asia, the first trip to the Southeast Asian nation by a sitting U.S. president in nearly five decades.

At a joint news conference Sunday, Razak expressed his gratitude for American help in the search for missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370. Obama pledged to continue providing all the assistance possible in the search for the plane, which has been missing for seven weeks.

The two leaders said they had agreed to upgrade upper-level ties to a comprehensive partnership, and to cooperate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and the Nuclear Proliferation Security Initiative, both of which Malaysia has opposed in the past.

Not at the forefront of the president's visit were discussions on what critics say are the Malaysian government attempts to clamp down on press freedom and quash the opposition.  Obama's schedule did not include a meeting with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The government has for years been pursuing sodomy charges against Anwar in what his supporters say is an illegitimate attempt to keep him from running for office. 

At joint briefing with Razak, Obama was asked why he did not meet with Anwar. 

“The fact that I've not met with Anwar is in and of itself not indicative of a lack of concern given the fact that there are a lot of people I don't meet with and opposition leaders that I don't meet with, and that doesn't mean I'm not concerned about them,"  Obama said.

The U.S. president said he did raise the issue of civil liberties with Prime Minister Najib.  

“What I have shared with the prime minister is the core belief that societies that respect rule of law, that respect freedom of speech, that respect the right of opposition to oppose even when it drives you crazy, even when it's inconvenient, respect for freedom of assembly, the respect for people of different races and different faiths and different political philosophies, that those values are at the core of who the U.S. is but also are a pretty good gauge of whether society is going to be successful in the 21st century or not," said Obama.

On the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, Obama said the U.S. remains absolutely committed to providing whatever resources it can to facilitate the search.

Lyndon Johnson was the last U.S. president to travel to Malaysia in 1966 during the Vietnam War, when the United States was working to maintain support among its Southeast Asian allies against the spread of communism.  Now, Obama has a different challenge in the region:  the threat of China's expanding military and, primarily, its growing assertiveness in the East and South China Seas, where it has competing territorial claims with a number of countries.

Those claims and the threats they pose to regional security are the main theme in the Philippines, his fourth stop on this Asian tour. The Philippines and China are locked in a dispute over islands in the South China Sea. 

The major item on the president's agenda in Manila is an agreement on enhanced defense cooperation to rotate U.S. troops into the country and station them temporarily on Philippine military bases.  It would allow for the largest U.S. military presence in the country since the Philippines ended the leases on U.S. bases more than two decades ago.

The agreement says U.S. troops can come only by invitation of the Philippine government.  But critics say the deal violates Philippine sovereignty and have staged demonstrations ahead of Obama's arrival.


Putin tightens his control
over the Russian Internet


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

These are not easy days to blog or use social media in Russia, particularly, analysts say, if you’re critical of the Kremlin’s current occupant.
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders want to kill off the blogosphere by year’s end, Andrei Malgin, an outspoken Putin critic, wrote on his Notes From a Misanthrope blog.
 
Putin stoked more speculation Thursday when he referred to the Internet at a media forum as a CIA project, one that was still developing as such.
 
The Web has drawn Putin’s ire for years, but pressure on his and the Kremlin’s detractors has been increasing, proponents of press freedom say.
 
Last month, the Kremlin blocked the Web sites of opposition leader Garry Kasparov, the independent Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station and the online newspaper Grani.
 
Kasparov is Russia's most prominent opposition leader and former world chess champion.

Monday, Pavel Durov, founder of the country’s most popular social network, VKontakte, said he was fired as CEO and forced to flee to Central Europe after refusing to hand over Euromaidan protesters’ private information to Russian authorities.
 
Also this week, Russia’s State Duma passed a bill that, if signed into law by Putin, would require bloggers with over 3,000 daily viewers to register with the government. They’d face the same scrutiny, some say censorship, experienced by Russian TV and newspapers.
 
 “These are all very alarming developments,” said Eva Galperin of the Internet freedom organization Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “It’s all bad.”
 
Analysts say these actions indicate authorities intend to seize greater control of what Russian citizens can see and say online.
 
But controlling the Internet is notoriously difficult, Internet experts say, and Russian activists are finding ways to slip past the Kremlin’s efforts to censor the web.
 
Much of the current crackdown stems from December 2011, when thousands of Russians took to the streets to protest Putin’s campaign to return to the presidency, journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan wrote in Wired. Protesters used social networks such as VKontakte and LiveJournal to vent their outrage and organize actions.
 
The protests came on the heels of the Arab Spring uprisings that were fueled at least in part by online activists, raising the stakes for the Russian regime, Soldatov and Ms. Borogan wrote.
 
The Kremlin appeared to be caught flat-footed by the opposition’s use of social networks, the two wrote. They said their sources in the secret services found Kremlin operatives to be technically “powerless to deal with social networks, especially any that were based outside of the country, such as Facebook and Twitter.”
 
Initially, the Kremlin responded by setting up a series of Internet blocks to stop Russians from visiting sites it considered troublesome.
 
That strategy proved ineffective. “Blocking access to sites is very trivial and takes almost no technical capacity to do,” said Steven Wilson, a lecturer on Russian politics and the Internet at Virginia Tech.  “In the long run it’s not very useful, because it’s like playing whac-a-mole and not really accomplishing anything.”
 
When a government blocks a site, it essentially instructs the nation’s Internet service providers to simply not route any traffic to or from that site’s specific numeric Internet address.
 
Experts say blocks are easily defeated by using proxy servers abroad or circumvention software such as a VPN. The Turkish government found that out after attempting a wholesale block of Twitter in March. Even before a Turkish court ordered the Erdogan government to lift the ban, many Twitter users found ways to slip past it.
 
The Russian government in 2012 began investing in something known as deep packet inspection, or DPI for short, Soldatov and Ms. Borogan wrote.
 
Visiting a Web site isn’t like phoning a friend, with one constant connection allowing conversation. Instead, all web traffic is broken into countless smaller packets, each separately routed to its destination and back again.
 
Normally, ISPs and routers just look at the packet’s top, or header, to send it on its way.  However, using specialized DPI equipment, the service providers – or the government –can peek into the packet’s content, gaining access to all sorts of private information.
 
Conducting deep packet inspection even on a small scale is technically complicated and even more expensive. That’s probably why only China has implemented it on a mass scale.
 
Russian authorities have quietly been purchasing DPI systems from a variety of manufacturers, including Israel’s RGRCom, Canada’s Sandvine and China’s Huawei.
 
That, along with increasing restrictions on online activity, is raising fear of an even harsher crackdown.
 
“There’s definitely a move toward greater control and censorship of the Internet,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Ms. Galperin said, “and a reframing of the Russian government’s attitude toward the Internet that is focused on all of the bad things that people are able to say on it, and going after opposition members and people saying things that they don’t like.”
 
Social media appear to be of highest concern, Ms. Galperin said, in part because of the 2011 protests and its widespread use.
 
“The bothersome thing about social media is that anyone can post to it, and there aren’t a lot of immediate limits on what you can say,” she said.
 
Centralization of Internet control represents another concern. “We’re definitely seeing a consolidation of ownership of Internet companies under allies of the Putin regime,” said Wilson, the Virginia Tech expert on Russian Internet.
 
As previously reported, financial control of VKontakte, Russia’s largest social network and Europe’s second most popular, has quietly been secured by the investment firm United Capital Partners. The financial firm is controlled by Alisher Usmanov and Igor Sechin, who made their fortunes in metals and oil. Both are said to have Putin’s ear.
 
For several years, Russia has restricted access to Western-based firms like Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, Google and others, thus channeling online users to the Russian firms.
 
Wilson said he thinks it unlikely that Putin’s allies will stop with VKontakte.  “Russia is in a relatively unique situation in that  actually companies distinct from the western companies, like Facebook and Twitter, that the majority of bloggers and social media are on,” he said. “And those are the companies that Putin has gobbled up.”
 
Another is LiveJournal, which analysts say is Russia’s most popular blogging platform. It’s owned by the firm SUP, which is controlled by, among others, Alexander Mamut. The oligarch has been described as Putin’s man.
 
Because LiveJournal is a Russian firm with at least some of its servers located in the country, it has to follow Russia’s changing laws about Internet use and control.
 
Knowing a company’s ownership is one of the best ways for Russians to evade the growing online censorship, Virginia Tech’s Wilson said.
 
There’s no reason to be blogging on a platform owned wholesale by allies of the Kremlin,” he said.  “… There are all sorts of free alternatives that Russians could easily migrate to, he said
 
Russians have proven adept at outsmarting government censorship with an ever-changing variety of tools.
 
However, these evasions are often a game of cat and mouse: Once a government catches on to a new trick, authorities will move to block it, leading to yet another trick, and on and on.
 
Growing ranks of Russians are also turning to various circumvention tools that can help protect their anonymity online while evading Internet blocks. Among the more popular of these are i2p, VPNs, fri-Gate and Tor.
 
Putin’s recent accusation that the Internet is a CIA project may be little more than bluster, analysts say, though it may signal Moscow’s intent to step up its own Internet surveillance.
 
But there may be a limit on how much Internet control the Russian government can seize.
 
Building a comparable effort would require a legion of advanced engineers and vast sums of money, Wilson said.
 
Russia’s particular limit on any ambitious government project has always been one of corruption, he said. Despite having a very large pile of foreign cash reserves, it hasn’t been able to address basic things like roads between their cities that are almost completely inadequate. If Russians]try and spend any of that money, it will disappear down the rabbit hole of corruption, he said.


Regular exercise reported
as Alzheimer’s protection


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers have discovered yet another reason to hit the gym.

A new study of older adults who were at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease claims that moderate physical activity can prevent shrinkage of the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory and spatial orientation. It is also the first part of the brain that comes under attack from the devastating disease.

"The good news is that being physically active may offer protection from the neurodegeneration associated with genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease," said J. Carson Smith, a kinesiology researcher at the University of Maryland School of Public Health who conducted the study.

"We found that physical activity has the potential to preserve the volume of the hippocampus in those with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, which means we can possibly delay cognitive decline and the onset of dementia symptoms in these individuals,” he said in a statement.

“Physical activity interventions may be especially potent and important for this group," Smith added.

For the study, Smith and his colleagues monitored four groups of healthy older adults ages 65 to 89.

The subjects all displayed normal cognitive abilities over an 18-month period. The volume of their hippocampus also was measured using magnetic resonance imaging at the start and finish of the 18 months.

Researchers divided the subjects into four groups, those with high or low Alzheimer’s risk and low or high levels of physical activity. Alzheimer’s risk was determined by the presence of lack of presence of an apolipoprotein called E epsilon 4 allele.

Only the group of high risk and no exercise saw a decrease in hippocampal volume over the 18 months, researchers said. All the other groups maintained hippocampal volume.

"This is the first study to look at how physical activity may impact the loss of hippocampal volume in people at genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease," said Kirk Erickson, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in a statement.

"There are no other treatments shown to preserve hippocampal volume in those that may develop Alzheimer's disease,” he added.

“This study has tremendous implications for how we may intervene, prior to the development of any dementia symptoms, in older adults who are at increased genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease," Erickson said.

Smith said the study provides “additional evidence that exercise plays a protective role against cognitive decline.”

The Alzheimer’s Association, which seeks to promote Alzheimer's care, support and research, recommends physical exercise “for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells.”

“Growing evidence shows that physical exercise does not have to be strenuous or even require a major time commitment," the association said. "It is most effective when done regularly, and in combination with a brain-healthy diet, mental activity and social interaction.”

Smith said the study suggests the need for more research on how physical activity “may interact with genetics and decrease Alzheimer’s risk.”

Smith had previously shown that walking improved cognitive function in patients already experiencing decline.

He plans to do further research on the effects of exercise intervention on healthy older adults with genetic and other risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s to see how exercise might impact hippocampal volume and subsequent brain function.

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, more than 5 million Americans suffer from the disease, a number they say will triple by 2050 as the population ages.

The findings are published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

orchids in a bottle
Voice of America photo
Tiny seeds, no bigger than a grain of dust in sterile bottle.

Orchid rescue in Florida
seeks to grow 1 million

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Many gardeners around the world consider orchids among the most beautiful flowering plants. There are more than 20,000 species of orchids, and some of them are in danger of extinction. Botanists in Florida have embarked on a five-year project to save some of the local species.

Orchids grow almost everywhere in the world, although they are mostly associated with the warm and humid tropics, including South Florida.

The Sunshine State is home to about 50 native species, but many of them are critically endangered by urban expansion and orchid hunters, says the director of Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Carl Lewis.

“Most of those orchids are very difficult to find now. They have been hunted almost to extinction in the wild, so, really, we launched this project just as an effort to bring those orchids back,” said Lewis.

The project, to grow and plant 1 million orchid seedlings, began two years ago.

Orchids primarily grow on trees, but because their seedlings are so delicate, they start their life in the lab.

Tiny seeds, no bigger than a grain of dust, grow in sterile bottles with appropriate nutrients. After they germinate, the young plants are transferred to an incubator with LED lights.

The next phase is the nursery. It may take up to two years before the plants are strong enough to be attached to trees.

Lewis said it is important to transplant enough mature orchids so they can continue to reproduce without help from his volunteers.

“This is supposed to be an infusion, just to get so many out there that they start to reproduce on their own,” he said.

Scientists hope that once they are reintroduced in their natural habitat, the orchids will attract insects and micro-organisms not seen in South Florida in decades.

They also count on help from local students, to keep an eye on the transplanted orchids in their neighborhoods. A number of plants also will be given away to try to reduce the chance people will steal them off the trees.

The conservation and study of endangered native plants across the United States is coordinated by the Center for Plant Conservation, based in St. Louis, Missouri.


China's rejection of corn
called bureaucratic response

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Since November, China has rejected more than a million metric tons of U.S. corn, citing the use of a certain trait of a genetically-modified corn seed the country has not approved for import.  The National Grain and Feed Association says the rejected corn is costing almost $3 billion in economic losses for the U.S. agricultural industry.  But despite the controversy over so-called GMO corn, China's actions are not hurting current demand or price.

Farmer Wendell Shauman knows that most of what he is starting to plant this year will eventually travel far from his cornfields in Illinois.

“We’re the largest corn producer in the world. We’re the best supply.  We have the best infrastructure to deliver that," said Shauman.

Shauman says demand for U.S. corn used to feed livestock is up worldwide, except in the third largest market for it,China.

“We went from just minimal sales over there to rather significant ones over two or three years, and, now, just this year, it's dropped back to almost nothing," he said.

That drop is because China is rejecting shipments that include seed company Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera, a genetically modified trait that Shauman says, like other GMO seeds, gives farmers many advantages.

“They’re effective. They help us produce a better quality crop. Some of it increases yields. Some of it lowers costs. Some of it increases qualities. Some of it helps improve the environment because it limits the kinds of pesticides we use," said Shauman.

Though Shauman does not use the specific Syngenta seed, he knows a thing or two about GMO corn.   He has a Ph.D in plant breeding and has served as past chairman of the U.S. Grains Council.  He’s traveled to China several times to represent U.S. farmers and believes the difficulty in getting China to accept this trait of GMO corn has more to do with Chinese bureaucracy than the product itself.

“They haven’t approved it, so they won’t accept it.  Basically, they know there’s nothing wrong with it," he said.

“In the past, if China really needed the corn, they kind of looked the other way and would take any kind of corn," said Craig Turner.

GrainAnalyst Contributing Editor Turner says corn prices initially dropped once news of the Chinese rejection spread.

"At the time, corn was trading at $4.20, $4.30 , and after China basically said we’re not going to take this corn, there was real concern we were going to go below 4 dollars," he said, citing the per bushel price..

The price has since rebounded despite continued restrictions in China.  But farmer Shauman says, even though the situation has not negatively affected prices, it has cast a shadow over farmers who use the trait, and grain companies that accept it.

“You almost have to be foolish to be a grain company now that wants to send corn to China, because there’s only about 2 percent of the total market that’s planted in this trait.  But it's planted all over the country.  It's just dispersed randomly, so it’s very hard to source corn that you can be sure doesn’t have some of this in there," said Shauman.

Shauman says, to provide stability, he would like to see an international standard on accepting GMO corn which could end the uncertainty farmers face in the marketplace so they can focus more on that other great uncertainty, the weather.


oil grphic
ETH Zurich graphic
Graphic shows how tiny DNA labels can be extracted from olive oil.

Tiny DNA tags created
to guarantee pure products

By the  ETH Zurich news service

Using magnetic DNA particles, olive oil can be tagged to prevent counterfeiting.

Who guarantees that expensive olive oil isn't counterfeit or adulterated? An invisible label, developed by ETH researchers, could perform this task. The tag consists of tiny magnetic DNA particles encapsulated in a silica casing and mixed with the oil.

Just a few grams of the new substance are enough to tag the entire olive oil production of Italy. If counterfeiting were suspected, the particles added at the place of origin could be extracted from the oil and analyzed, enabling a definitive identification of the producer. "The method is equivalent to a label that cannot be removed," says Robert Grass, lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich.

The worldwide need for anti-counterfeiting labels for food is substantial. In a joint operation in December 2013 and January 2014, Interpol and Europol confiscated more than 1,200 tons of counterfeit or substandard food and almost 430,000 liters of counterfeit beverages. The illegal trade is run by organized criminal groups that generate millions in profits, say the authorities. The confiscated goods also included more than 131,000 liters of oil and vinegar.

A forgery-proof label should not only be invisible but also safe, robust, cheap and easy to detect. To fulfill these criteria ETH researchers used nanotechnology and nature's information storehouse, DNA. A piece of artificial genetic material is the heart of the mini-label. "With DNA, there are millions of options that can be used as codes," says Grass. Moreover, the material has an extremely low detection limit, so tiny amounts are sufficient for labeling purposes.

However, DNA also has some disadvantages. If the material is used as an information carrier outside a living organism, it cannot repair itself and is susceptible to light, temperature fluctuations and chemicals. Thus, the researchers used a silica coating to protect the DNA, creating a kind of synthetic fossil. The casing represents a physical barrier that protects the DNA against chemical attacks and completely isolates it from the external environment -- a situation that mimics that of natural fossils, write the researchers in their paper, which has been published in the journal ACS Nano. To ensure that the particles can be fished out of the oil as quickly and simply as possible, Grass and his team employed another trick: they magnetized the tag by attaching iron oxide nanoparticles.

Experiments in the lab showed that the tiny tags dispersed well in the oil and did not result in any visual changes. They also remained stable when heated and weathered an aging trial unscathed. The magnetic iron oxide, meanwhile, made it easy to extract the particles from the oil. The DNA was recovered using a fluoride-based solution and analyzed by a standard method that can be carried out today by any medical lab at minimal expense. "Unbelievably small quantities of particles down to a millionth of a gram per liter and a tiny volume of a thousandth of a liter were enough to carry out the authenticity tests for the oil products," write the researchers. The method also made it possible to detect adulteration: if the concentration of nanoparticles does not match the original value, other oil -- presumably substandard -- must have been added. The cost of label manufacture should be approximately 0.02 cents per liter.

Petrol could also be tagged using this method and the technology could be used in the cosmetics industry as well. In trials the researchers also successfully tagged expensive Bergamot essential oil, which is used as a raw material in perfumes. Nevertheless, Grass sees the greatest potential for the use of invisible labels in the food industry. But will consumers buy expensive extra-virgin olive oil when synthetic DNA nanoparticles are floating around in it? "These are things that we already ingest today," says Grass. Silica particles are present in ketchup and orange juice, among other products, and iron oxide is permitted as a food additive E172.

To promote acceptance, natural genetic material could be used in place of synthetic DNA; for instance, from exotic tomatoes or pineapples, of which there are a great variety -- but also from any other fruit or vegetable that is a part of our diet. Of course, the new technology must yield benefits that far outweigh any risks, says Grass. He concedes that as the inventor of the method, he might not be entirely impartial. "But I need to know where food comes from and how pure it is." In the case of adulterated goods, there is no way of knowing what's inside. "So I prefer to know which particles have been intentionally added."


Many wait to experience
effects of climate change


By the Carnegie Institution for Science

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence for the impending dangers of human-made climate change, policy decisions leading to substantial emissions reduction have been slow. New work from Carnegie's Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira focuses on the intersection between personal and global impacts. They find that even as extreme weather events influence those who experience them to support policy to address climate change, waiting for the majority of people to live through such conditions firsthand could delay meaningful action by decades. Their findings are published by Nature Climate Change.

Nearly every year, extreme weather events such as heat waves and hurricanes spur the discussion of climate change in the media and among politicians. This can create a window of opportunity for those seeking to enact policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But this window of opportunity could be delayed by decades due to the vagaries of weather.

"When support for doing something about climate change is based on personal observations of local weather, policymaking may end up being dictated by the roulette wheel of natural climate variability," says Ms. Ricke.

MS. Ricke and Calderia's modeling studies show that within 50 years nearly every country in the world will experience the kind of extreme weather that can be a policy trigger. However, local natural variability in weather means that majority of people in each nation, particularly large countries like China and the United States, could personally experience these extremes for themselves either tomorrow or many years from now.

If citizens do not support emissions reductions and other efforts to fight climate change until they experience extreme events firsthand, naturally-driven variations in weather could delay action by decades, Ms. Ricke and Caldeira found. They find that sound science should guide policy rather than the vagaries of weather. "Local weather is anecdotal information, but climate change is sound science," Caldeira said. "Good politics can be based on a good anecdote, but good policy needs to be based on sound science."





Real estate-related services (paid category)

Interior Design & Custom Furniture Manufacturing
logo
“We regularly exceed client expectations.
We guarantee it.”
Customizing for your vision, lifestyle and budget.
 
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

• Interior Design
• Custom Furniture Manufacturing
• Building Completion Services
Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad.
Our custom furniture designs & manufacturing can be contracted independently.
“Serving the Region for 11 years”

Email: info@casadelpacifico.com
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644
Web: www.casadelpacifico.com

Rosa Monge
Rosa Monge


Real estate foreclosure specialist

Great deals available every week
Properties like this:

20.5 acres of pasture for as little as $2,400

Rosa Monge Alvarez
Please email for details
rosa_monge@racsa.co.cr
8339-5/23/14

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8294-6/12/14

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.
8206-5/18/14

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
 
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
8321-10/17/14



Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia home
1,000 square meters of land, 350 square meters of construction.  CLICK HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8245-5/12/14

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Dragon montage
New amazing, modern, eco-friendly three-bedroom, three-bath executive modern home perched on your own small mountain.  270-degree ocean view with unbelievable teak-look concrete deck, to the RED 48-foot fiberglass infinity lap pool. Separate covered deck with pool table. Guest house with kitchen, Jacuzzi, outdoor shower. Exquisite entryway of 20-foot rock wall and electric gate, with video feed. Large work garage separated from house. Guardhouse. Hidden metal shutters to secure the property for weeks. Private registered well. Inside/outside kitchen. Propane fire pits. Several water features including a waterfall and a water bubble wall. Property can be purchased stand-alone with the house at $550K, or the whole mountain for further development at $950K.  Contact drako13@me.com
8344-5/23/14

Selva Rio
SELVA RIO ESTATES (SRE) www.selvarioestates.com is a 10-lot  development with lots starting at $65,000US. You know what they say "Location, Location, Location." Well SRE is  located only 10 kms. from Atenas (best climate in the entire world!),  only 3 kms. from Highway 27 access, only 3 kms. from grocery stores and restaurants, only 35 kms. (30 min) from SJO airport, only 50 kms. from  Pacific Ocean, only 42 kms. from Escazu, 0  kms. from gorgeous country living with nature!  Contact the developer at selvarioestates@hotmail.com or call 8704-6106. We can help you build your dream home now!
8341-6/22/14

Heredia lot
 
Residencial Del Monte
(San Rafael de Heredia)

1,804 m2 lot  (19,418 sq. ft.)
Price: $135,000
Tel.  8853-0000 or  jpmata2000@yahoo.com
8340-5/21/14

Beautiful Survival Farm with panoramic Pacific views
In the heartland of one of the world's five blue zones, Nicoya. 12 acres with ample space for planting, natural forest, own perennial waters, public road yet hidden access, electricity. Fire sale 59,000 USD   axelspecial@gmail.com
8333-5/9/14

another house shot
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist www.costaricaretireonss.com  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!
8310-7/1/14

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$499,500 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!
8309-6/29/14

Atenas mansion
ATENAS!!
In 2006, the developer of a popular subdivision in Atenas chose a large 7,000 m2 corner view lot for his first spec home. Now, eight years later that home is once again for sale with first class tropical landscaping that much more mature. With 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-car carport, laundry room, and more than 300 m2 under roof next to a pristine pool, this home is located in a gated community with its own water sources. And the location, just 1 1/4 km from town, is convenient to shopping and services, too. The views are of  Candelaria and the central valley. No wonder this community is so popular! $495,000. More photos HERE. And then contact  larry@atenasrealty.com
8306-4/26/14

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean.  This design allows for barrier-free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room its spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors.  $365,000.00 or rent for $900 per month including WIFI and PLUS utilities.  Long term rentals only please.  Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage.  3 bedrooms/ 2 baths.  Fully furnished   Automatic entry gate.   Custom exotic wood cabinets   High end stainless steel appliances   Granite counter tops  Slide show at   
 www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24055899   
For more information contact:  deeday214@gmail.com
8305-6/26/14

Belen home
Comfortable in Costa Rica
Asuncion de Belen. Home in exclusive Residencial La Jolla.  Gated community with controlled access,  security 24/7. Resort swimming pool and gym. Spacious and elegant finishes, private jacuzzi and social areas. 3 bedrooms. 2.5 baths.  Private gardens. Conveniently located close to airport, shopping, bilingual schools, Intel and Duty Free Zones. 322m2 on 249m2 corner lot. Lease with purchase option  $3,400/ $428,000 USD. Contact owner at 8309-2000 for details or email rafa@rafacr.com.
9304-4/3/14

Esterillos

Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away.  Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails: edumace64@yahoo.es and pdvartanian@aol.com.
8269-5/27/14

Five bedrooms
Puntarenas City, Puntarenas
Beach home central Pacific Ocean
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach.  The home is completely furnished including all linens, kitchen cook ware, pots, pans, all dishes and much much more. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Office with all connections for WiFi,  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes all linens, TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances   Will consider trade for U.S. Property.  Asking  $250,000. 
Call Gary 8784-2945  English only, or email  combrokers@aol.com
8259-8/25/14

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consigment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email tierrasmorenaslou@yahoo.com
8257-8/17/

Balcony view
This is a great opportunity
Get your home in one of the best locations. Four-bedroom condo near Universidad de Costa Rica, ULatina & UFidelitas   $$165.000 USD.  24/7 gate security with in-home alarm, three levels, parking for two cars and play area for children. First Level: Living room/dining room, kitchen with breakfast bar, laundry room, patio/garden with roof, storage area, & guest bathroom. Second Level: Large master bedroom with full bathroom and walk-in closet, two additional bedrooms, linen closet, full bathroom. Third Level: Large fourth bedroom or TV room, full bath, large storage attic, spacious roofed balcony and breathtaking views of mountains to the east, south, west. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987 / U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458 . C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email: sjogringo@yahoo.com
8253-5/12/14

Los Reyes home
House for sale in La Guacima, Alajuela
Located on 9th tee of Los Reyes Country Club. Club offers golf, tennis (6 courts), swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Easy access to schools, shopping, hospitals & Caldera highway. One hour to Pacific beaches. House price: US $450,000.00. Contact Bill, Phone 506 -8878-9221  Email: losreyes191@gmail.com Click on the link below for photos and additional details:
https://plus.google.com/photos/105244969603261154850/
8240-8/6/14

NOW REDUCED TO $595,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
8230-3/13/14

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, dogfood@carolina.rr.com 8841-1606
8223-2/21/14

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high speed internet.      www.saintmichaelscostarica.com
8215-7/14/14

complex
Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos
in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment: One bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom, gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500-square-meter garden with aviary for guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4-meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2-meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built to highest standard by German owner in 2005,  room for two more apartments, plans approved. Less then a 10 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jaco. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. 70% owner financing available. More photos on request HERE!  Email: wolfganghilbich@yahoo.com  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.
8200-4/3/14

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region
RichCoastRealty.com

Central Pacific between Jacó and Quepos-Manuel Antonio
Lots in gated community near the beach  from $17,999! Only 3 left
2-bedroom house in gated community was $120k now $99,900
3-bedroom house with 2 additional residential lots, walk to the beach $160k
Turnkey coffee shop/ bakery, corner location, great ROI! $65k
2-bedroom panoramic oceanview house, guesthouse on 2.5 acres $269k
Panoramic oceanview  property, 3 houses, on-ground pool $375k
And much more!!!

     www.RichCoastRealty.com
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
   Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
8191-4/30/13


Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at www.suenos.org. Contact us at: osaproperty@gmail.com or +1-866-514-7435.
8172-1/6/13

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary. jungalow@gmail.com.
8166-5/29/13

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at: http://www.rebecker.com/journal102006a.htm.  Contact information: ginbecker@gmail.com,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2104

montage
For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail bmcart3@gmail.com for more information ¡y se habla español!
8097-xxx


Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
golf
Award  winning unique mini golf on the main road of La Fortuna. approximately 8,000 square foot structure permits you to do business 365 days a year. Seven years left on lease at $500 a month or $1,000 a month if you use the 9,000 square feet behind it. Space to build cabin, house or additional tourist attractions. Price includes all permits and patents. Property is offered for sale through local owner. Photos available at the following Web site: Renosminigolfcr.com. Email: renosminigolf@gmail.com  or call 506 6021 4569. In English! Great Price $25,000.
8345-4/24/14

Gingerbread Boutique Hotel and Fine Restaurant For Sale
botique hotel
A very  famous, highly regarded unique lake view themed boutique hotel consisting of three air conditioned suites with satellite TV and high speed Internet, two themed cottages with garden showers, one large super suite with kitchen and garden shower, managers apartment, restaurant rated one of the best restaurants in Costa Rica {see reviews} and the premier real estate office at Lake Arenal,which puts all its clients in to the hotel, plus room for additional lake view rooms and a pool, all less than a mile from Nuevo Arenal and the public park on the lake.  Go to the Web site for photos and complete information  at  www.gingerbreadarenal.com  This is the finest boutique hotel in Costa Rica in one of the fastest growing areas of all of Central America.  Sale opportunity $750,000.   Contact to :
Terry Moran, Owner Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com 
Office phone: 506 2694-0088  Cell phone: 506 8880-8888 
USA # rings in Costa Rica:  305 307-0088
8263-8/20/14

Tanning montage
This is your chance to acquire a totally equipped tanning salon with five machines.  Fantasia Tropical has been open 14 years but the founder needs to retire and return to the U.S. for medical reasons.  You can assume the lease in Sabana West buying the S.A. or buy the assets and move them to a location you prefer. Taxes, permits, bank accounts all in order. Excellent opportunity for an energetic, creative hands-on owner or couple. Long-time manager available to stay on if desired. With an asking price of $30,000 this won't
last long.  Some owner financing may be available.  Contact galanses@hotmail.com for an appointment. For a preview www.facebook.com/FantasiaTropicalCR
8232-2/24/14

A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San José, Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas. And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to even greater success. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a pro-forma income statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.com.
8213-2/13/14

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact: manager@crbusiness.biz.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 82
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Pittsburgh newspaper cites
Biden, Guanacaste project

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A newspaper in the United States says that if Joe Biden runs for president, there will be more attention directed to the dealings of his brother, Frank Biden, who has a project  in Guanacaste.

The newspaper, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review. published an article Saturday titled "Biden name drives Costa Rican golf dream" The article referred to the nearly $1 billion Guanacaste Country Club project near Liberia that has been in the planning stages for years. A partner in the project is Frank Biden, the vice president's brother.

A.M. Costa Rica published an article April 16 that revealed the project is anchored by casinos and hotels, although there are plans for housing and a golf course.

The newspaper quoted Guanacaste partner  Craig Williamson affirming that the vice president has no role in the project. Williamson blamed marketing people for bringing up the name of the vice president, the newspaper said.

The Guanacaste Country Club captured pubic attention here because of plans to install acres of solar panels.


Obama again promotes
$10.10 hourly wage in U.S.


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Congress to pass a bill raising the the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

The president said in his weekly address nearly three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage, a move that would affect almost 28 million people across the country. Obama said the average minimum wage worker is 35 years old and works hard, often in physically demanding jobs.

The U.S. leader said Republicans in Congress are blocking the wage increase and some want to get rid of it entirely.

President Obama said Republicans have voted more than 50 times to undermine or repeal the Affordable Care Act that provides health care to millions of people. He said Congress should vote at least once to raise the minimum wage for millions of working families.

In the Republican address Saturday, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said the federal government needs to get out of the way as small businesses try to plan for the future.

Boehner said House Republicans are pursuing economic initiatives that put jobs first.

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From Page 7:

Bill would OK loans on intellectual property

By the A.M,. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers have approved on first reading a law that would designate intellectual property as a good that can be used as collateral.

The move was praised by the  Cámara de Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación, which said that the measure would open up new way of financing for the many firms involved in intangible work, such as creating software, apps and audio visual projects.

Until now these firms only have the financing options of using tangible goods as a security for a loan or mortgage. The new law, which needs one more favorable vote, is expected to benefit small and medium enterprises because most of the software and similar firms are of that size, said the chamber. It said that 87 percent of the firms doing that kind of work in business parks fall into those categories.

The bill was approved Thursday, and lawmakers have now adjourned. The second approval, if its is given, will have to come from the new legislature. The new members of the Asamblea Legislative may choose to put the bill into committee for more study. The chamber urged approval.